AstraZeneca warning: Firm issues fraud alert as EU nations offered ‘grey market’ jabs

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The Anglo-Swedish drugs giant said there is no private sector supply of their jab available on the market. The warning comes after reports of individuals approaching a number of European governments claiming to have extra doses of the Oxford-produced vaccine for sale. An AstraZeneca spokeswoman said: “Our current focus is delivering on our substantial global commitments to governments and international health organisations, as quickly as possible to help end the pandemic.

“As such, there is currently no private sector supply, sale or distribution of the vaccine.

“If someone offers private vaccines, it is likely counterfeit, so should be refused and reported to local health authorities.”

The German government was said to have received offers from a “mediator” claiming to have access to AstraZeneca vaccines.

It was reported by German tabloid Bild that several European Union states have been offered up to 100 million doses on the “grey market” – the unauthorised sale of legitimate products.

The vaccines were illegally exported from factories in India that manufacture the vaccine under licence, it was claimed.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn was said to have received a direct offer of extra doses to help plug the current shortfall across Europe.

Attempted illicit sales of the BioNTech/Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines have also been reported.

The Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions of Italy have confirmed they have received offers for grey market jabs.

The Czech Republic was also approached by an individual claiming to represent AstraZeneca and have extra vaccines for sale.

Prime minister Andrej Babis said extra doses were offered to his government by an “intermediary”.

He said: “We have received an offer from an intermediary, via Dubai, to buy five million doses for 10 dollars per dose.”

Mr Babis refused the offer and claimed at least three other EU governments had been approached.

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Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban received a similar offer.

Olaf, the EU’s anti-fraud agency, has warned against fraudsters offering Covid vaccines.

Director-general Ville Itala said: “We are hearing reports of fraudsters offering to sell vaccines to governments across the EU.

“These offers come in many different forms. For example, fraudsters may offer to sell large quantities of vaccines, deliver a sample in order to pocket the first advance payment and then vanish with the money.

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“They may deliver batches of fake vaccines. Or they falsely may purport to represent legitimate business and claim to be in the possession of or have access to vaccines. 

“All of these claims have one thing in common: they are false.

“They are hoaxes organised to defraud national authorities looking to step up the pace of vaccination to keep their citizens safe. They must be stopped as quickly as possible.”

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